POP Season Preview: Marching to the Beat of One Drum

It’s no coincidence that the Pistons finally returned to the playoffs in the same year that Andre Drummond established himself s one of the most dominating big men in the NBA. That’s not to say that this team is solely dependent on Drummond and is lost when he’s not on the floor, but it’s clear that he is Detroit’s best player and will go as far as he can take them.

This entire roster is built around Drummond. Much he did in Orlando with Dwight Howard, Stan Van Gundy likes to make a dominating center the center piece of his team. This gives Van Gundy flexibility to put smaller more finesse power forward on the floor who can shoot the three. With shooters all around him, the paint is opened up for Drummond to use his developing post moves.

As a result of a roster that is built around him, Drummond has continued to improve over his four year career. Last year Drummond set career highs in points per game at 16.2, rebounds per game at 14.8 (which led the league), and shot attempts per game while at the same time watching his shooting percentage go up from last year. Drummond also set a career high in his steals per game with 1.5 a night. So what can you expect from Drummond next season?

Look for Drum to be near the top of the leader boards again when it comes to rebounds next season. He can be the most dominating force in the NBA on the glass for stretches, but he could be more consistent with it. If he does learn to play with maximum effort whenever he’s on the floor, Drummond could be head and shoulders above the pack when it comes to rebounding as opposed to just being the best.

I’d also expect to see a more polished post game from Andre next year. He has always had a soft touch around the rim and has been developing the offensive part of his game since he entered the league. Last year we saw his game start to take the next step in this phase of his game. His hook shot is coming along nicely and he does a very nice job of adjusting and finishing at the rim with a touch layup. I’d expect these things to only be improved this season.

The one thing that absolutely has to improve his Drummond’s free throw shooting. His struggles are documented and he is on pace to be the worst free throw shooter in NBA history by a wide margin. As a result teams are intentionally sending him to the line, specifically late in games, which forces coach Van Gundy to take him off the floor. Now no one should ever expect Drummond to be a good free throw shooter because he won’t be. But if he can raise his percentage just to the neighborhood of 45-50 percent, up from last years 35%, it would go a long way in keeping on the floor late in the game.

As a 22 year old Drummond has established himself as one of the best players in the game and the clear star of this Pistons team. Now he is 23 and fresh off of signing a huge extension to stay in Detroit for the future. You should expect him to keep getting better over the upcoming season, specifically on the offensive end. It is unclear if he will improve at all in his one great area of weakness, but frankly it would be hard for him to get any worse. Regardless, when he’s on the floor he will continue to be a dominating rebounder with a soft touch around the rim. Make no mistake, Drummond is just scratching the surface of how good he can be.